Last Updated on 21st July 2023
Over 50% of the global population lives in urban environments, with estimates suggesting it will increase to 6 billion people by 20451. City developers are starting to react to these levels of growth and beginning to provide the services, infrastructures, and other sustainable developments needed. Various digital technologies have benefited developers, boosting efficiency and productivity for urban planning. One such technology is mobile LiDAR.
This article explores how mobile LiDAR is utilised in urban planning to increase the sustainability of environments and quality of life for residents.
What is urban planning?
Urban planning is the process of creating layouts and plans for urban areas, including building development, land design, and risk management. It’s a key process in helping to improve the lives of inhabitants by ensuring suitable education, work, and recreation opportunities. Urban planning aims to create sustainable cities, both for the environment and the communities within. It also allows urban areas to react to potential risks faster and with accurate information- due to the creation of accurate documents and information.
How is LiDAR used in urban planning?
The accuracy and versatility of LiDAR means it has an important role in urban planning by providing more information to city developers. This, in turn, can influence a range of factors within urban environments which include:
Road planning and traffic control
LiDAR scanners create accurate 3D digital replicas of roads and intersections which help to monitor traffic analytics. This actionable data is useful for examining near misses between vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists to increase safety measures on roads.
Using LiDAR sensors, city planners can track air quality which allows for the identification of highly polluted parts of a town or city. The lasers emitted by the LiDAR device illuminate certain particles in the atmosphere and analyse the light reflected back to the sensor, known as backscatter. This then determines the quantity of pollutants in the air.
Emergency planning and disaster management
LiDAR helps communities prepare and mitigate in case of emergencies. An example would include creating accurate floorplans of a building to highlight entrances, exits, or passageways to aid both the public and rescue teams during or after a disaster.
Access to LiDAR is important for construction teams as it gives them the ability to produce 3D point clouds of buildings and spaces. This is valuable in urban planning as it allows for the creation of BIM (Building Information Modelling) or CAD (Computer Aided Design) for carrying out renovations or redesigns.
Safety measure implementation
Law enforcement uses LiDAR scanners to increase safety measures within urban environments for a variety of reasons, such as recreating crime scenes or monitoring crowds at large public events to alert them to security threats and emergencies.
How is mobile LiDAR used for urban planning?
Using mobile LiDAR for urban planning is becoming increasingly adopted as its versatility makes project completion quicker and cost-effective. Mobile LiDAR scanners can collect accurate data of urban environments whilst causing minimal disruption to residents’ daily lives. Examples include:
Measurements and boundaries
Benefits of mobile LiDAR for urban planning
No matter the urban project or stage of completion, mobile LiDAR has the capacity to deliver the correct information and fulfil requirements. The handheld nature and speed of capture of mobile laser scanners mean project completion is more efficient and does not interrupt the general running of an urban environment.
As cities become increasingly reliant on technology, urban planners should consider mobile LiDAR as an option to produce deliverables faster for the benefit of both residents and businesses.
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